Ex-Sea Lord raises Scottish defence fears

Lord Alan West
Lord Alan West

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FORMER First Sea Lord Admiral Alan West has said plans for Scottish independence do not take defence issues into account.

Admiral West, who worked as a defence minister for the previous government, said it would be ‘devastating’ for the country’s defence industry if the rest of the UK stopped paying to build warships there. He argued that it could even mean the end of Britain’s nuclear deterrent.

He said: ‘I think Alex Salmond is guilty of not having addressed defence issues. He is sleep-walking into disaster.

‘The implications are very far reaching.

‘How would Scotland see itself in this new guise? Would it be part of Nato, would it be part of the EU defence force?

‘How would it defend its sea area? There is no doubt that Ireland has relied on the UK and Nato to look after its defence. Would that be what Scotland will be doing?’

He added that independence could lead to nuclear disarmament for the UK because of the cost of relocating submarines from Scotland.

‘It would diminish both our countries,’ he said.

‘I think it is really worrying.

‘The implications for the defence industry in Scotland are devastating. Because if this goes ahead there is no way England, Wales and Northern Ireland will pay for ships to be built in Scotland. They will be built elsewhere.’